A Coquitlam man was found guilty on drug charges this week related to a marijuana grow operation that was discovered in his home in 2009.
Thuy Hong Vu was convicted of one count of production of a controlled substance and one count of possession for the purposes of trafficking after 486 oz. of pot were found at his Verbena Place residence in the Noons Creek area.
During his trial, the defence argued that Vu, who lived in the home until March 29 or 30, 2009, was unaware the plants were in the home until the police executed a search warrant a few weeks later, on April 23. Vu's lawyer said it was more likely that the grow operation was under the control of a tenant who moved into the home in April.
But Crown witness and marijuana grow op expert Cpl. John Uzelac stated the plants seized by police had reached a level of maturity that indicated the grow operation had been in the works for the entire month of March and likely earlier.
When pressed by the defence over the question of whether the plants could have been moved to the location after Vu had left the residence, Uzelac said it was unlikely.
Marijuana plants, he testified, are grown in highly controlled environments with carefully planned feeding and watering cycles. If the grow regiment is disrupted in any way, he testified, it can shock the plants and degrade their quality.
"To move them, to alter the growth environment would be to shock the plants," he said on the stand. "I don't see any evidence here that these plants have been shocked. They look well maintained. They look well cared for. They don't look like they have been moved."
During the execution of the search warrant, police found numerous plants in various stages of growth in rooms all over the house, which is registered in Vu's name. The estimated wholesale value of the marijuana was between $45,000 and $90,000, the Crown said.
Uzelac's statements combined with Vu's admission that he had lived in the home until the end of March were enough for Port Coquitlam provincial court judge Thomas Woods to find the defendant guilty.
"He had complete dominion over the house and over its contents," the judge stated in his ruling. "It cannot be reasonably contended, in my view, that during March, he lacked the knowledge of and control over the grow operation necessary to fix him with legal possession of it."
THE REASONS FOR JUDGEMENT